On an abandoned country road, a car spins out of control and crashes down a rocky embankment. The driver, a woman, suffers critical injuries, and as she teeters between life and death ...
... we go back 8 years to ...
... 1999, Los Angeles, and US-Chinese relations couldn't be worse after NATO's accidental bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade.
Toy salesman, John Welland, and his wife Susan, are still mourning the tragic loss of their daughter to leukemia two years ago, when their spirited 12 year-old son, Mark, is kidnapped and found mysteriously murdered in Beijing, China. The suspected killer, Peter Raines, also from Los Angeles, is detained and later sentenced to death by the Chinese. But, John is left questioning Raines' motives. And after locking horns with uncooperative US authorities, he embarks on a personal crusade to find the truth behind his son's brutal murder.
Despite official travel warnings, John journeys to Beijing to confront Peter Raines. But, his attempts prove futile, and it seems the deeper John digs for answers, the more questions he unearths. It's only when he returns home and finds Raines' son in a Los Angeles hospital, that he uncovers not only the reasons behind his son's murder, but also the insidious workings of China's human organ trade. Raines, with the aid of the Trade's evil cartel, had smuggled Mark to Beijing to harvest a matching kidney for his dying son. But, in an elaborate double-cross, the cartel stole all of Mark's highly profitable organs, and set-up Raines to be the indiscriminate killer.
John learns how the barbaric cartel illegally harvests and sells organs from executed prisoners, and maintains supply through petty convictions, forced confessions and the alleged persecution of a peaceful spiritual group banned by the Chinese government. With the help of a former Trade whistle-blower, John sets out to capture the cartel's broker responsible for Mark's murder. But, when their well-planned sting goes horribly wrong, John winds up in the heart of the Trade's most terrifying domain, a Chinese labor camp.
Suddenly, John's quest for justice turns to one of survival, as he witnesses first-hand the torturous cruelty dealt out by Chinese prison guards. But, when John is ordered to punish a fellow prisoner or be punished himself, and the intended victim reveals himself to be Peter Raines, John is faced with his ultimate test. A test of human spirit. Does he take vengeance on a man responsible for his son's death? Or, forgive a man that, just like himself, would stop at nothing to save the life of his son? John stands paralyzed, staring at his adversary ...
... divinely unaware that the path he chooses will, in 8 years time, decide the fate of the woman in the car accident ... his wife.
© Copyright Jonathon Barratt 2006
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